#FDOFG–Favorite Book Museum!

For many years, I’ve been celebrating reading and helping readers get to know each other better–and therefore build our classroom community–by using a Reading Museum.  While the difficulty and actual procedures are different depending on what grade I’m teaching (I’ve tried this protocol with 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th graders), the purpose is the same: help kids see themselves and their classmates as readers and make connections between interests and books!

Before I even get to the “how-we-did-this” part, I HAVE to share this amazing picture from just before we started.  It’s super cute because it has a carpetful of first graders and gives me chills and makes me want to squeal (yes, actually!) because of all the books!  Just indulge me for a moment then we’ll move on…

IMG_3235See?  What did I tell you??  TOO. MUCH.  Ok, let’s get to the other good stuff. 🙂

As a “homework” assignment over the weekend kiddos were asked to find their favorite book and bring it to school with them on Monday.  After we collected them and took this AMAZING picture, we talked about the purpose of our Reading Museum–as well as what in the world a museum even is (for those that might night have ever visited one).  We discussed museum etiquette and then they got busy putting together their “exhibits” (the idea for which came from my friend and teaching partner Ms. Turken who does so many fabulous things in Rm. 203 next door–thanks for sharing your smart thinking friend!), so we could learn from each other.

Kiddos were given a “placemat” and then added their book, their name, and some sort of response to their book: a picture of their favorite character, their favorite part, the reason why they liked it, a picture of the cover, etc.

So I do have to admit…the actual museum visit part was much shorter than I thought that it would have been, but I actually think part of it was my directions (I talked too much and too long so they were confused about what to do), and also because they were so interested in actually READING the books with their friends that they weren’t so much interested in just walking around and just looking at the covers.  #ohwell #lessonslearned #rememberinghowfirstgraderswork #betterlucknexttimemrsbearden #lol

Still, it was a pretty successful time, as books were shared, connections were made and BOOKS WERE READ!!

And since I know you can’t see what we actually shared in those teeny pictures, here are all of our exhibits.  Enjoy the slideshow!

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Ok…one more bunch of pictures, based on another super smart Ms. Turken idea: we took a picture with each kiddo and their book and they now adorn our book boxes! GENIUS!  And nope, no pics of that yet, but here’s what they look like in color on the blog (rather than in black-and-white in our room):

Wow!  That was a lot.  Thanks for hanging in there!  Kiddos were so excited and so cute–they will be so excited I shared this and SO EXCITED that you read about their smart book thinking. 🙂

#FDOFG–Library Learning Commons

Ok, so this post feels a little like a tease, but I wanted to at least share the story (so I don’t forget and therefore never post it because I don’t have the right pictures.  I’ve made that mistake before. 🙂 ).

This year, our librarian, Mrs. Meihaus, made the jump to turn our library in a learning commons, taking time and care to recreate the space by moving furniture, adding “soft things” like more stuffed animals, bean bags and pillows, and rethinking how we’ll use the communal space for learning.  Kiddos were SO excited when we finally got a chance to visit and see the new space for ourselves last week.

First graders got to spend the first few minutes exploring the new space on their own, and then we met Mrs. Meihaus in the storytelling area for some fun, a story (of course!) and conversation.

Mrs. Meihaus shared Kate Messner’s How to Read a Story, which is a great tool for any aged reader on what readers really do with a book.  I love that Mrs. Meihaus even said it should be a manual that all teachers should read for how to do ELA (she probably said it way more eloquently than that, but I concur. It was pretty great!).

After we read, we played a game to help remind us of “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” things to do in the library or with books…

…and then we had time to check out….the rest of the library AND new books!!  BUT…that’s the part I don’t have pictures of.  As you can imagine, first graders need lots of support as they navigate a giant library and figure out what to read.  I don’t have pictures of the great new layout, or the cozy soft stuff where kiddos snuggled in to read, or the ZERO ZONE, a new space where kids can go if they need absolute silence to work/read, but believe me: it’s awesome!  We’re going back again to visit on Friday, so maybe I’ll have time to snap some then.

I do actually have some pictures of us reading our new books, though….just not in what would be considered a typical place.  We took a bathroom break after our library visit and took full advantage of the time to sit and enjoy our new gems!  It was such a great sight–had to share!  It was so great to watch them dig in and get busy with a book!

Students: What was your favorite part of our new Learning Commons?  What was different from last year?  What was still the same?  What books did you check out?

Parents:  What did your kiddos tell you about their visit?  What do you know about a Learning Commons v. a “regular” library?  What questions do you have?

Teachers:  What does the Library Learning Commons look like in your school?  How is it utilized by students? by teachers? by administration? by families?  What advice do you have as we transition to a new learning space?